2018-04-11 / Front Page

Candlelight vigil draws crowd on courthouse lawn

BY ALLEN ESSEX
Reporter


PEOPLE HONOR VICTIMS of domestic violence and sexual abuse at a courthouse ceremony in Raymondville last Wednesday. 
(Courtesy Photo) PEOPLE HONOR VICTIMS of domestic violence and sexual abuse at a courthouse ceremony in Raymondville last Wednesday. (Courtesy Photo) A candlelight vigil held last Wednesday on the grounds of the Willacy County courthouse was a big success, organizer Martha Martinez said.

The 19th annual event, sponsored by the Willacy County Child Welfare Board and the Family Crisis Center Inc. was held to show support for the victims of abuse and neglect and to begin Autism Awareness Month, Martinez said.

Friends, neighbors and relatives of families who suspect domestic violence, child sexual abuse and related problems should not remain silent, Martinez said.

“It’s to remind us that it is widespread problem, we should report when we see something and speak out for the children,” she said.

Autistic children and teenagers can be helped, but professional help is needed in such cases, Martinez said.

“Being autistic doesn’t mean they can’t function,” she said. “They’re not being disrespectful or belligerent, that’s the way they interact, how they communicate.”

Students from Lyford, Lasara and Raymondville school districts recited a poem about autism at the event and were singing about awareness of autism, she said.

The keynote speaker at the event was Dr. Norma Villanueva who addressed the topics of child abuse, sexual assault and resources that can be obtained from the Child Protective Service and law enforcement.

Also represented were the sheriff’s office, Raymondville police, Lyford police, Willacy County Emergency Medical Service and the Raymondville Volunteer Fire Department.

“We do this every year, we have a moment of silence and then we have the sirens at the end to remind us that this (abuse) happens every day,” she said. “We need to continue to be the eyes and ears in the community.”

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